Wednesday, May 11, 2016

News and Notes for May 11

I've been very busy working and traveling for months but I thought I'd carve out some time to give some updates.

First, in basketball, Kevin Stallings landed his first commit in 6'2" PG Aaron Thompson of Paul VI Catholic HS in Fairfax, VA. If that sounds familiar, it's the same school that produced incoming PF/C Corey Manigault (on a side note, Manigault is now up to 6'9" and 236 pounds).

The last Stallings starting PG at Vanderbilt, Wade Baldwin, was a borderline top 100 prospect that is expected to be a mid-first round pick in the upcoming draft. So Stallings does know how to identify point guards, and he really wanted Thompson, who he was also heavily pursuing while at Vanderbilt.

There's a lot of good traits that Stallings can see in Thompson, who has a strong, athletic body and  very good quickness and speed. He is also an excellent passer, drives well to the hoop, and has great potential leading an offense. So why is he not a top 100 prospect? He's not a very good shooter- like, at all.

That doesn't mean that he can't eventually turn into a decent shooter. With teammates Manigault and McDonald's All-American wing VJ King off to college, Thompson will be forced to score more next season. Justice Kithcart was considered to be an average shooter, at best, last summer, but his shooting progressed a lot months later. So much so that it's now not considered a weakness. The same could happen to Thompson. And he has a staff full of shooting gurus at Pitt, so if they can't turn him into at least an adequate shooter than it can't be done. And if Thompson does turn into at least an adequate shooter, than the rest of his skill set will help him be a good college player. In the worse case scenario, he will be a part of a guard group that includes Kithcart, Damon Wilson, Jonathan Milligan, and Crisshawn Clark, and that's at least a group with good potential.

As for football, I continue to be impressed with the job that the staff has done. Three impressive prospects are already in the fold, and more are on the way, probably soon.

I'm still expecting top local prospects like DE Donovan Jeter, LB Kenny Robinson, and OT Gabe Houy to eventually give the Panthers the nod, and I'm a little more optimistic when it comes to Lamont Wade.

The staff has been going crazy with offers, including nearly 50 to Florida kids. 50!!!  One such kid, elite athlete Bruce Judson, who originally committed to Ohio State, has been praising Pitt for weeks, and many think the Panthers could be the favorite. Elite New Jersey DT Fred Hansard also speaks highly of Pitt, and the Panthers have a legitimate chance with him too.

The Panthers need to add at least one elite WR and they currently have about a dozen offers out. They desperately need two tight ends and they are still involved with at least eight. There's also 20 offers out to offensive linemen that haven't committed yet. You get the point. The Panthers have a lot of options available, and with an entire year longer to recruit these kids there's no reason to think that this class won't end at least as impressively as the last class, and I would be very surprised if doesn't end up better.

One aspect of recruiting that seems to be worrying fans is the quarterback position, but it's way too early to panic. Thomas MacVittie is an elite prospect, and if he lives up to his potential the Panthers could be a top 10 team in a few years. And the Panthers still have a very legitimate chance to land 2018 elite QB Phil Jurkovec. Even if they don't land Jurkovec, they will land a 3 or 4 star QB next year and the same in the '18 class. It's very conceivable that a star QB could be all that separates Pitt from being a good team and an excellent team, but the staff will bring in very good talent at the position. They just need to have one of those players hit. And with quarterbacks you never know who that will be.

Bottom line, the Panthers are heavily involved with so many top prospects that I had to scrap a plan a few weeks ago to give a position by position update. The staff is simply involved with too many players to narrow it down at this point. And they also have a fast start in offering top prospects in the '18 class. I told you not to worry about the '16 class, and it turned out to be a very good class. I fully expect the '17 and '18 classes to be even better.

14 comments:

  1. Nice update Chris - please don't go so long between your next post!

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  2. Saw where the Pitt staff is visiting Judson along w/ ex teammate James Folston - I also "heard" via twitter that Florida is the team to beat for him.

    Not surprising I guess.

    Until Pitt gets back on the national page, we'll get some players from Florida that the other teams don't necessarily want as much but that's about it - Judson is the exception.

    But, Folston is the key here imo - without this connection, I doubt we have a chance at a top 100 national player from Florida.

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    1. I don't know where Judson will end up, but most national experts are picking Pitt.

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  3. Thanks for the article Chris. It explains what is going on and why it took so long to get it out. New football staff continues to impress. It will be interesting to see how Coach Canada does recruiting and developing quarterbacks which is critical for Pitt to get to the next level.

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  4. Still worried about OL recruiting...

    -Timmeh

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  5. I wouldn't say I am worried about OL recruiting. Quite frankly it is more than anything else about weight room and coaching. That is why you don't have a lot of kids playing in their first or second year and you also have a lot of under recruited guys who are solid their their sr. Pitt seems to be recruiting big to very very big guys who have good footwork and the ability to add some weight and muscle. Peterson really is the crucial part to all of this. Oneil is a good example of him being able to recognize potential and teach him how to succeed. Lets hope he can do that with under recruited guys.

    I think it is worth noting that the second best wideout in the country is probably the elite wide out we have the best shot at. He is also from Cali and in the end I don't see us getting him, but the fact that a kid like that looks at Pitt and sees the opportunity. The sad part is, this year for PA is just horrible for WR. I fully expect Webb to go to PSU and that leaves Street(a good but not elite wr) as the 2nd or 3rd best wr in the state.

    Chris, why is it that Jeter, Robinson and Houy have not yet committed? I get Jeter a little more as he still is pulling in offers from the likes of BAMA and would be silly not to at least consider those options. Robinson I thought was a lock for a long time.... is his offer not commitable yet? Same thing with Houy.... I thought he would have been the first commit for Pitt, is the coaching staff holding him off? Also why has Squires not been offered yet? Same thing with Murray. I can't imagine Paris Ford isn't pushing for Murray to go to Pitt. I think we can pull one stud RB and have Murray as a nice secondary piece of the recruiting class.

    I think Narduzzi has everything right where he wants it. This recruiting class will be swayed big time by the beginning of the season. The first 5 games have 2 games the team should win and 3 games that they could easily win and could easily lose. If this team is 4-1 or 5-0, guys like Lamont Wade will look at it and think... maybe we really could win a national championship here if I stay. If they start out 2-3 or 1-4, I think the, "we just need to get my guys in here, come be a part of it" will be a harder sell this year. While I think Pitt is going to be better, I think the entire ACC is going to be much better.

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  6. Chris I find it quite surprising with ND recruiting. It's not like Kellys this great guy or coach for that matter.but he is taking over western PA that for shore every suburban kid he getting

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    1. First, who cares if Kelly isn't a good guy? These kids sure don't or else no one would play for Saban or Meyer either.

      Kelly isn't a good coach? He went undefeated in 2012 and ND still has some restrictions when it comes to recruiting or else they'd be camped out down south plucking all that speed.

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    2. Jeter, Robinson, Houy and possibly also the Jackson twins and Pugh if the latter three go the prep school route.

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  7. Western PA is a big Catholic Church area that why they get players from here.

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  8. Kelly a OK coach his not a great coach never stay long enough to see what he could do with his own players Notre Dame is the only place he stayed very long.How many years has he been there?

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    1. Kelly has been at ND since 2010. The Irish should be pretty good this season. It's all about that continuity in college football.

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  9. Alright....I'll volunteer to send out the St. Bernard's to look for Chris.

    -pghFred

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  10. Lol!miss you chris

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